Ready to plant!

― Parika farmers eager to plant

― looking for guidance from GMC, NAREI

― “Our planting schedule must be market-led” – Min. Holder encourages farmers

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 14, 2019

“We can do a lot of things here. Persons are eager for even more development. So, we can do more planting!”

These were the sentiments of Collin Caesar, a crop farmer from Naamric. His request was for the construction of a five-mile stretch of road further into the backdam so that more farming can be done, and adequate access could be had.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Fredrick Flatts assured it will be looked into. “This is the first time I’m hearing about this. I know we had built a big bridge at Naamric, but I will have our engineer come in with you and see what it’s all about so that something can be done.”

Collin was at the time voicing his concerns to the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Noel Holder during a community meeting at the Parika-Salem Secondary School.

Collin’s concern was one that was resounding throughout the meeting. The other pressing matter for these farmers is finding markets for their produce. It was highlighted that the community currently has an abundance of cassava, and no one to buy it. It was on this note that Minister Holder made a crucial point.

“We have to stop planting what we want and simply for the sake of planting, our planting schedule must be market-led.”

The minister’s charge was fully accepted by those in attendance, with one farmer, Steve Dhanbaraj, imploring his fellow farmers to stop complaining. “Year after year is the one complaint. You all keep talking about how the thing you planting not selling, we need to plant to meet the market,” he said, taking up the minister’s charge.

General Manager of the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) gave the farmers an example of where the market is heading. “We will begin to produce chips for the export market and the first chip we will engage with is plantain chips, and that’s one thing we will purchase at the Parika Facade, plantain. In time, we will do cassava, but for now, we have to first perfect the plantain,” he encouraged.

While this bodes well for the farmers, Minister Holder reminded that the way forward is through contractual works as it is important that they have stable pricing and stock as failure to meet the requirements of export markets could mean the loss of those markets

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